The UK government has today (20 November) launched England’s third Investment Zone in West Yorkshire.
The new zone is focused on the cities of Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds and will create 2,500 jobs over the next five years and deliver up to £220m in investment, the government has said.
One of the initial investments will come from Paxman Scalp Cooling, a healthtech company working on ways to minimise hair loss during chemotherapy.
The company’s CEO Richard Paxman welcomed news about the investment zone and added that the decision to open business in the region “will only further attract investment in a sector that changes lives and makes a real impact commercially and socially.”
“Paxman has invested significantly in the region over the past five years, attracting over £10m ($12m) of foreign direct investment. Now, we are more committed than ever before in increasing our presence and investment in Huddersfield,” he continued.
In addition, Hunt is extending the programme of Investment Zones from five to ten years and doubling the envelope of funding and tax reliefs on offer.
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“We are changing our country for the long term, driving economic growth across all corners of the UK,” Hunt said. “It will mean thousands more jobs in the exciting industries of the future backed up by better infrastructure and communities to be proud of.”
News about the new investment zone comes after UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in October scrapped the second phase of the high-speed train line HS2, meant to connect Birmingham, Manchester and other towns in northern England.
Instead, Sunak promised to invest £36bn into transport projects across the north and the midlands, including £2bn for a new station and rail link in Bradford and £2.5bn for the West Yorkshire region, including investments in the Leeds tram network.
The UK continues to be affected by widespread economic inequality, with regions such as London and the South East seeing significantly more growth than the North (West Yorkshire included) or the country’s devolved nations – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.